Monday, 11 May 2015

Swarm Control.

So swarm season is really upon us and a quick visit to my hives showed that there was an awful lot of activity and gave me that dreaded feeling that most beekeepers get...are my bees going to swarm??

Very busy hive entrance.
Very busy hive entrance.
A quick look into the hive showed many bees and two sealed swarm cells but luckily the weather was on my side and the bees hadn't swarmed which they typically would have done by the time swarm cells were sealed.

So onto swarm control then. This year after hearing a talk on swarming when I went to the AGM of Lincolnshire Beekeepers Association I decided to try this method as it was simple and straight forward without the need for moving about heavy brood boxes.

The method is very straight forward. 

  • Have a nuc ready with undrawn foundation and some syrup for feed.
  • Open your hive and remove supers.
  • Remove queen excluder.
  • Locate queen and put her safely in a 'queen clip catcher'
  • take two frames of brood with flying bees and place in the centre of the nuc ensuring there are no queen cells on the frames
  • put undrawm foundation either side of brood frames.
  • put syrup in feeder of nuc.
  • release queen into the nuc.
  • Shut the nuc up and leave ventilation only for two days. after this open nuc to let bees fly and collect nectar/pollen.

This will leave your main hive with plenty of brood to hatch out and bees to collect supplies whilst you are waiting for your new queen to emerge, mate and start laying.

Also the two frames of brood you have removed will be replaced with undrawn foundation which will keep the bees busy whilst waiting for their new queen.

The theory is that by the time you open up your nuc the bees will have forgotten that they were in the other hive and so simply come back to the nuc once they leave.

Like I have said I only heard about this sort of swarm control recently and this is my first time trying it out but it was very simple to do without too much disruption to the bees and there is no moving about of the hives which I personally found very appealing especially as I am on deep brood and they get very heavy.

So this is my first solo swarm control.....Fingers crossed it all goes well!!


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